HOMER WATSON LENORMAND CARDS

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History of the Lenormand Deck 

The Leonormand deck is a fortune telling deck inspired by the French seer Marie Anne Lenormand.  Lenormand was born in Alençon, Normandy in 1772. Frightened by her fortune telling abilities, her parents sent her to live in an orphanage.  At the age of 16, she opened a fortune telling salon.  She acquired a deck of cards which she began to use in her fortune telling to great success.  She was considered one of the greatest cartomancers of her time.  After her death her name was used on several cartomancy decks including a deck of 36 illustrated cards known as the Petit Lenormand or simply Lenormand cards. The 36 card Lenormand deck is modelled on a deck of cards published ca.1799 as part of Das Spiel der Hoffnung (The Game of Hope), a game of chance designed by Johann Kaspar Hechtel of Nuremberg. 

Lenormand cards differ from Tarot cards and ruins as they have more simple images and less hidden interpretation or symbolism. Instead of focusing on the “why” they focus on the “how”.  For this reason they are favoured both by professionals and amateurs.   

How to ask questions 

When using a Lenormand deck, it is important to ask clear and concise questions, however they should not simply be yes or no questions. It may be helpful to write your question on paper and read it aloud. Questions may include clarification of how events have occurred, understanding potential outcomes of a situation or how to achieve a goal. It is best to frame questions in a positive manner (don’t ask “why not” instead ask “how can I achieve”).  It is also important to not ask the same question multiple times trying to gain a different response. 

Card meanings

RIDER

News, visits, travel, movement, energy, passion, speed, activity, messages 

The rider is the deliverer of important information.  The cards next to the rider highlights the positive or negative aspects of the information. The card indicates that something in your life will bring on change. 

CLOVER

Luck, happiness, fate’s gift, Lightheartedness, Opportunity, Being Untroubled, Comedy 

The clover represents a happy coincidence, or opportunity.  It generally represents something with a small impact rather than having major significance in your life. As such, it usually represents a passing moment that may involve you to take advantage before it passes.  

SHIP

Departure, Farewell, Distance, Voyage, Travel, Journey, Adventure 

This card represents business success, especially a business trip.  It represents something entering your life and causing change.

HOUSE

Home, Establishment, Safety, Tradition, Custom, Privacy, Conservation 

The house represents family and home life. It can represent the building itself, the people within it or a more abstract concept of “home” where one feels safe or comfortable. The house can also represent a barrier or a sense of close-mindedness. 

The house depicted on this card is the house at 1754 Old Mill Road, formerly the house, gallery and studio of Homer Watson.  Watson purchased the house in 1883 after gaining international success as one of Canada’s early landscape painters.

TREE

growth, grounded, past connection, personal growth, spirituality, health 

The tree represents growth and maturity as well as a clear mind and the ability to rationalize a situation. It can also represent health and wellbeing in both a physical and spiritualist sense.

 

This card depicts an elm tree, one of Watson’s favourite subject matters to paint. Watson’s property once had an elm tree near the road which caused many disagreements with his neighbour who wanted to have it cut down.

CLOUDS

Confusion, Doubt, Unclarity, Misunderstanding, Hidden Secrets, Insecurity 

As clouds block out the sun, the clouds card represents that which is hidden.  It indicates doubt and confusion that may be the result of a lack of clarity.  It may warn of troubles that you might like to avoid. 

Watson gained his nickname “Canadian Constable” in part due to his frequent depictions of stormy skies and clouds. 

SNAKE

Desire, Seduction,  Deception, Craving,  Attraction, Sexuality,  Wisdom, Forbidden Knowledge, Envy, Rivalry 

The snake is a very old symbol with many different meanings.  The card can be a warning that there may be an untrustworthy person around you. It can also represent desire and craving, both healthy and unhealthy.  Lastly, the snake may also represent knowledge and wisdom, in interpretations where morality is not attached to this symbol, knowledge and wisdom are positive and revered, however the snake can also represent forbidden knowledge.

COFFIN

Ending, Dying, Funeral, Loss, Grief, Mourning, Sadness 

The coffin card generally has negative meaning; indicating major issues, illness or even death.  It can also represent the more literal aspects such as loss, suffering and burying, when something is buried away so deep that we can no longer access it.

BOUQUET

Flattery, Social Life, Pleasantness, Cordiality, Etiquette, Politeness, Appreciation 

The bouquet indicates happiness in social situations. This could be polite interactions, appreciation or gratitude or developing friendships.  

SCYTHE

Accidents, Hasty Decisions, Danger, A Warning, Speed, Reckoning 

The scythe indicates a looming accident.  It warns to be cautious and avoid risky situation. 

WHIP

Conflict, Discussions, Arguments, Debate, Scolding, Opposition, Objection 

The whip is an indicator of conflict or quarrels.  It could indicate discord in a social group or unhappy relationships.  

BIRDS

Worry, Excitement, Gossip, Chattering, Nervousness, Anxiety, Conversations, Training, Communication 

The birds represent communication in all forms, this may be both positive and negative in interpretation.  On the negative end it could involve gossip, worry and anxiety but it may also represent neutral situations such as conversations or training.

CHILD

New Beginnings, Child, Toddler, Play, Inexperience, Innocence, Immaturity 

The child may represent a new path with many options.  It may indicate naivety and inexperience indicating that a more experienced person should be relied on. 

This card depicts Homer’s adopted daughter Mary.  Mary came to Canada from England during the First World War and was later adopted by the Watsons. 

FOX

Selfishness, Self Care, Trickery, Suspicion, Cunning, Caution 

The fox represents cunning and decisiveness, the ability to quickly and effectively navigate challenges.  On the negative side it can represent manipulation or dishonesty.

BEAR

Power, Leadership, Dominance, Influence, Short temper, Strength of character, Generosity, responsibility 

The bear represents strength and power.  On the positive end this may be perseverance, a nurturing and generous leader or strength of character.  On the negative side this could be someone who asserts too much power, is short tempered or aggressive. 

STARS

Hope, Inspiration, Optimism, Spirituality, Dreams, Progress to Goals 

The stars are a symbol of hope and inspiration and progress toward a goal.  This is a strongly positive card it represents both goals and the journey to achieve them.

STORK

Change, Transition, Movement, Recurrence, New Cycle, Yearning 

As the stork migrates long distances, this card indicates a change or transition often in relation to location.

DOG

Loyalty, Friendship, A Follower, Devotion, Obedience, Support 

The dog represents a strong companion or friend.  This is a supporter or sense of comfort or be an obedient follower.  Generally positive, the card can also indicate someone who is too much of a follower and unable to make decisions on their own. 

 

This card depicts Homer’s pet terrier Terry. Terry is one of 2 dogs Homer had while living at the building that is now Homer Watson House & Gallery. His dogs would often sit on his lap as he contemplated his paintings in his wicker chain in the studio.

TOWER

Authority, Protection, Permanence, Solitude, Loneliness, Isolation, Institutions, Stability,  Arrogance 

The tower represents stability and permanence on the positive end but loneliness and isolation on the negative end.  Due to its stature, it may also represent institutions such as large organizations or government.

(© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, 1987.)

The tower is visible on the Grand River near Homer Watson House & Gallery.  It was constructed in 1926 as a memorial to the Pioneers who first settled the area.  Homer Watson memorialized it in his painting “Ice Jam at Doon.

Homer Watson, Ice Jam at Doon, Oil on Cardboard, National Archives of Canada

GARDEN

Public Affairs, Society, Culture, Teamwork, Fame, Social Networks, holiday, illusions 

The garden represents public activities or activities outside the house.  It may represent the release of information into the community or an announcement or recreational activity.  

Homer Watson and his wife Roxanna were not avid gardeners, but Homer’s sister Phoebe was.  Phoebe moved into Homer’s house after Roxa’s death and developed the gardens on the property.  One of the most unique features she added was the palette garden, which mimicked her brother’s artist palette in shape and was filled with flowers in many splashes of colour. 

MOUNTAIN

Difficulties, Problems, Obstacles, Impairment, Hurdles, Struggles, Challenge  

The mountain represents a barrier to an outcome.  It could be a person, event or additional work. 

 

In the early 1920s, Homer Watson travelled west to visit the Canadian Rockies.  He greatly enjoyed the trip and completed several paintings inspired by the landscape including this painting of Emerald Lake in Banff, Alberta.

CROSSROADS

Choices, Many Opportunities, Travel, Separation, Hesitation, Decisions 

The crossroads indicates a significant or event fateful choice. The proximity of negative may indicate doubt or wrong decisions. It can also demonstrate the need to make a firm decision.

Homer Watson experienced reaching a crossroads at many points during his life.  As a youth, he was conflicted whether he should continue the family trade working in a mill or pursue a more precarious career as an artist.  Later he was conflicted about whether he should stay in Europe to continue in the European art world or return to his beloved hometown of Doon (now Kitchener), Ontario. 

MICE

Dwindling, Deficiency, Depletion, Destruction, Defect, Flaw, Disease 

The mice represent loss or disappearance.  It may be a slow but destructive process. It can be a warning to be conscious of things that may be a problem later. 

HEART

Love, Amicability, Romanticization, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Softness, Charity 

The Heart represents love in many forms.  Sometimes it can represent romantic love, but it can also represent affection, heartfelt connection and compassion for other beings. In combination with negative cards, it can represent the breakdown of relations or heartlessness. 

Homer Watson first gained success in the international art world when he sold his painting “Pioneer Mill” to the Marquess of Lorne as a gift for Queen Victoria.  The sale earned him $300 that he used to purchase a gold watch for himself, a gold chain for his wife and a locket with faux rubies and pearls for his sister, Phoebe.  This card is inspired by the locket, although its shape is unknown.

RING

Commitment, Promise, Honor, Partnership, Cooperation, Cycles 

The ring represents commitments or agreements.  This can be in love, business or life. The ring can also represent a repetitive cycle.

BOOK

Secrets, Knowledge, Education, Information, Research, Studies 

The book represents knowledge, education and learning. It is also associated sometimes with secrets and truth – things that can be discovered with the aid of knowledge.

 

Homer Watson wrote an untitled manuscript for a book he intended to publish.  The book was inspired by his own life but unfortunately was never completed or published.  The manuscript is now part of the collection at Queens University Archives.    

LETTER

Document, Email, Speech, Conversations, Expression, Information, Communication 

The letter represents communication. This may be in the form of written, spoken or digital communication. The letter may also represent documentation or paperwork.

MAN

Male in Querent’s Life (Male Friend, Partner, Family Member), If the Querent is Male, the Querent 

The man card can represent a specific male or masculine character or masculinity in general. It may also represent behaviours that are stereotypically masculine. This card should be interpreted considering its surrounding cards.

This card depicts Homer Watson, the first internationally celebrated Canadian landscape painter.  With virtually no formal training, Homer Watson gained international acclaim when his painting “Pioneer Mill” was purchased by the Marquess of Lorne as a gift for Queen Victoria. He would become known as the first Canadian artist to depict Canada as it truly was rather than through the lens of the European art world. 

LADY

Female in Querent’s Life (Female Friend, Partner, Family Member), A Female Querent, Femininity 

The woman card represents femininity and all things typically associated with women. It may represent a specific woman or simply refer to feminine traits or behaviours.  

This card depicts Homer Watson’s beloved wife Roxanna Watson (nee Bechtel).  Roxanna was one of Homer’s biggest supporters, providing advice and managing the house and finances.

LILLIES

Sensuality, Sex, Virtue, Morality, Ethics, Wisdom 

The lily card represents the struggle between sensuality and virtue. It can represent sexuality and pleasure or, conversely it would represent morality and virtue.

SUN

Happiness, Victory, Success, Power, Warmth, Truth 

The sun is a strongly positive card representing victory, happiness, or success.  The sun also provides light and may illuminate previously undiscovered things.

MOON

Subconscious, Intuition, Emotions, Fears, Desires, Fantasy 

The moon represents the subconscious, coming out when you are in a dream state.  In the night, things become less clear, and you must rely on your intuition.

 

Many of Homer Watson’s paintings depict evening scenes.  As an avid Spiritualist, Homer Watson appreciated at evening as it was the time when the veil between the living and the dead was thinnest.  

KEY

Openness, Revelation, Unlocking, Achievement, Liberation, Resolution 

The key unlocks restrictions and opens new paths or freedom from confinement.   

FISH

Finances, Business, Wealth, Values, Gain, Abundance 

The fish represents wealth.  This can be a physical goods or generally things of value.  The fish may also refer to abundance. 

ANCHOR

Stability, Restraint, Security, Resilience, Durability, Laying Foundations 

The anchor represents resilience and commitment to complete a task.  This card can be positive or negative representing perseverance or inability to move on from goals that are not serving you. 

CROSS

Duty, Conviction, Suffering, Burden, Intolerance, Principles, Indoctrination 

The cross can represent religion or responsibility.  It may also represent some of the more negative aspects of ideologies, including intolerance and indoctrination.

 

Homer Watson’s mother was a strict Christadelphian.  In his youth, Homer was not fond of his mother’s religion but explored the scriptures in the Bible later in life.  He sought to use the scriptures to justify and support his Spiritual beliefs.  

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The Loch Doon area was memorialized in celebrated Scottish poet, Robert Burns piece “Ye banks and braes O’ bonnie Doon”

Ye banks and braes o’ bonny Doon,
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae weary fu’ o’ care?
Thou’lt break my heart, thou warbling bird,
That wantons thro’ the flowering thorn:
Thou minds me o’ departed joys,
Departed, never to return.

Aft hae I rov’d by bonnie Doon,
To see the rose and woodbine twine;
And ilka bird sang o’ its love,
And fondly sae did I o’ mine.
Wi’ lightsome heart I pu’d a rose,
Fu’ sweet upon its thorny tree;
And my fause lover stole my rose,
But, ah! he left the thorn wi’ me.